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Windows 8.1 – the missing manual 

In much the same way that Windows 8.1 is an updated version of Windows 8.0, “Windows 8.1 – the missing manual” is an updated version of the original book. As such, it covers the Windows 8 tile and touchscreen interface together with the enhancements introduced with Windows 8.1. Hence, it should meet the needs of the power user who may or may not have been initially using 8.0 as well as the person who is coming fresh this latest version of Windows.

windows 8 1 the missing manual
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As with its predecessor this volume, which has over 900 pages, is divided into logical sections to enable users new to Windows 8.1 to become conversant the various aspects of this new operating system a key feature of which is its touch-screen interface. It also covers Windows RT which is, in essence, a variant of Windows designed to run on the lower power ARM chips that are widely used in tablets.

The opening section deals with the basics of the tile-based touchscreen-focused face of Windows 8.1 so as to enable the user to learn about the Start screen; the “Charm bar”, which provides direct access too many important functions, together with an introduction to the importance of the right-click of the mouse which now brings up shorts-cut menus.

The following section deals with all aspects of the desktop and, as it says, “the world that waits for you behind the Start screen”.  As well as menus, task & scroll bars, file handling, and recycle bins etc., it also covers built-in programs such as Windows Media Player, WordPad and Speech Recognition. Importantly, for many of us traditionalists there are the important guides: “Restoring the Real Start Menu” and “The Complete Guide to Ignoring TileWorld”.

The Windows Online group of chapters covers all the Internet related issues including connecting to a Wi-Fi network, setting up an Internet account and Windows Live Mail. Firewall, anti-spyware software and parental control are among the security issues are also covered in this section. This is followed by the hardware and peripherals section which describes how the Windows 8.1 relates with attached devices such as printers, discs, scanners and cameras etc.

Chapters in the multimedia section cover, which is entitled Pictures & Music, cover Windows Live Photo Gallery, a picture editing and organising program, as well as Windows Media Player. It then goes on to issues related to printing, installing cards in expansion slots as well as trouble-shooting.

Under the general heading of PC Health, space is devoted to back-up and troubleshooting as well as giving tips on how to make the PC run faster prior to going on to cover networking and related issues such as file sharing and remote access.

Browse through the early sections of this book in order to get a better feel and understanding of the new “tile” interface. Use the information in one of the appendices to help one install Windows 8.1 or upgrade from 8.0. Then, having started to get to grips with Windows 8.1 one can go to any appropriate section to find step-by-step instructions on how to carry out any particular task -- some of which will be new to you -- and so get on with the job.

Priced at £30.99, but available on Amazon for £19.83 incl. p&p this could well be a worthwhile investment and help you get a useful understanding of Windows 8.1 and then be able to get on with your work. However, when buying, make sure that you get the current edition rather than the previous version for Windows 8.0.

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